“It Took Us Into Denny Hamlin’s House “: Veteran Insider Unravels NASCAR: Full Speed’s Indisputable Impact on the Sport

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NASCAR has always been a contemporary of Formula 1. So naturally, when NASCAR announced that it’d partner with Netflix to create ‘NASCAR: Full Speed,’ the docu-series drew comparisons to ‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’. While Drive to Survive has managed to reach a larger audience and popularize F1 racing, the extent of Full Speed’s influence is yet to be known. Marty Smith concurs that it has placed the sport on a global stage.
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The veteran journalist is one of the most respected voices in the NASCAR community. Joining Dale Earnhardt Jr on the popular podcast Dale Jr Download, Smith revealed his stance on the aftereffects of NASCAR: Full Speed. Using an example from his private circle, he stated how the documentary portrayed a different side of Cup Series drivers.
Marty Smith equates ‘NASCAR: Full Speed’ and ‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’
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When Dirty Mo Media announced that Dale Earnhardt Jr. would collaborate with Marty Smith for its first episode of February, fans were excited. The fandom has awaited Smith’s arrival on the show for a long time, and considering his insightful expertise, a conversation with Junior seemed enlightening. The duo discussed many topics, including NASCAR: Full Speed, fulfilling the expectations and promises. Being the show’s executive producer and narrator, Dale Jr questioned,
“We’re all anxiously waiting on the impact that this is going to have on the sport. Everyone is going to compare this to the F1: Drive to Survive, and rightfully so. We’re hoping for literally the exact same result. Do you think it’ll do anything for us?”
Marty Smith answered, “Without question. I think that’s indisputable.” NASCAR: Full Speed might not be the first attempt to give fans a deeper view of the sport or its drivers. What sets it apart is the intricate detailing of an unknown side of the drivers. Revealing how the series has boosted his popularity among his peers, Smith claimed,
“I would just use my own friends as a barometer, a measuring stick in that capacity, because my buddies in college football are blowing me up. I didn’t tell anybody I was in this thing. They’re all blowing me up like ‘Holy s**t man, I’m going to Talladega this year. I had no idea this and that’.”
Highlighting the most noteworthy aspects of the NASCAR docu-series, Marty Smith added, “It took us into Denny Hamlin’s house. It took us into Bubba Wallace’s mind. I heard Ty Gibbs say f**k for the first time.”
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NASCAR: Full Speed has received a warm reception from the fans and the drivers alike. Apart from impressing ardent followers of the sport, it has also attracted a new and young fanbase. A few days ago, Denny Hamlin confessed that he’d seen a popularity spurt due to his being in the spotlight in the documentary. However, Joey Logano’s opinion is quite the opposite of it.
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Not every driver was willing to allow cameras into their life
2022 Cup Series champion Joey Logano is one of the drivers who opposed the intrusion of Netflix’s cameras before the documentary’s release. While he was among the nine playoff drivers to feature in NASCAR: Full Speed, he had allowed much less detail for Netflix to work with. Following the show’s release, he conveyed his grievances from the documentary and said,
“I didn’t like reliving getting knocked out of the playoffs. That part really s**ked, but I get they have to do that,” said the No. 22 Ford driver, who was ousted in the first round of the playoffs. Despite his family being a part of his screen time in the show, he was not on board with it. Adding more about it, he revealed, “I don’t know if I feel really comfortable doing that just from a privacy and safety standpoint. At the race track, everything was fine.”
On the other hand, Hamlin enjoyed the most screen time and focus from Netflix. Accrediting the production team for its work, the No 11 Toyota driver said, “No one had editing rights except for Netflix, so they are ultimately the ones who put out the (stories) they thought were compelling. Obviously, my quest for this Cup (Series championship) has been 18 years in the making, so they thought that was a compelling story.”
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While that seems a reasonable argument, his infamous reputation as the heel of NASCAR is also one of the aspects for Netflix focusing on an unknown side of him. Affirming Marty Smith’s opinion, Hamlin claimed, “I feel like it has been really positive for the sport and certainly, I hope we bring it to some new eyes and that is what it is all about,”
It remains to be seen if NASCAR plans to replicate the documentary with another season. Considering the response, it might be one of the most exciting events of 2025 or later.
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